El Niño
El Niño Has Reestablished and Might Stick Around For Awhile
The weather we have experienced for the past several weeks lines up very well with what we thought winter would be like... a more active finish than start and middle. During the past 60 days, areas along the Palmer Divide / I-70 Corridor have benefited the most –– running well above average for precipitation during this time: Most areas of Colorado have received at least average moisture, with a few small exceptions. Mountain areas have also been doing well, especially the parched San Juans a
El Niño
As La Niña Fades, is El Niño on Deck?
The recent weak La Niña episode that prevailed since last fall, has been all but erased. The animation below shows the sea surface temperature anomaly trend during the past several weeks. Blue colors mean colder than average sea surface temperature anomalies, while orange/red means warmer than average sea surface temperature anomalies. Notice how all of the blue color in the ENSO regions has pretty much disappeared. At the same time, we have seen some much warmer than average water build off
El Niño
A Return of the Monsoon for August? La Niña Check, Winter Analogs, and That Pesky PDO
In a good year, August can be one of the wetter months of the year for many of us in Colorado. Right on schedule, we've had a recent surge of monsoon moisture. This is always a good thing, especially when the amount of flash flooding we've seen of late has been relatively low. Below is a look at rainfall totals for the past three weeks. Overall, a pretty good look for the state. Northwest Colorado is hurting the most, with those of us living along the northern I-25 urban corridor also missing o
La Niña
La Niña Transition & The Monsoon
La Niña Transition Let's see how our transition from El Niño to La Niña is going. We've talked about this a lot during the past several months , and here is a look at the current sea surface temperature anomalies: The blue shading that you see extending off the west coast of South America represents cooling taking place in that part of the Pacific Ocean. However, while that is happening the rest of the Pacific Ocean is still quite warm. This is especia
Colorado Weather
El Niño Death and La Niña Birth: What It Could Mean for Colorado
If you frequent Weather5280 this the title of this post is not breaking news. In fact, we've been talking about this transition for several months. Today I wanted to provide an update for those that are interested, and show what history and various computer models are suggesting. First, let's look at the recent sea surface temperature anomaly changes over the tropical Pacific Ocean: The animation above shows the changes that have taken place at the surface since early February. Notice th
El Niño
Colorado Mountains Have Driest February in 30 Years
The USDA announced Friday that Colorado's mountains experienced the driest February in 30 years. The data was measured from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) network of weather stations. There are 114 such SNOTEL sites that mostly span the mountains; only a handful are at the lower elevations. At the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan river basins the stations only received 35% of the average February precipitation. Statewide mountain precipitation
Western Update
Heavy Rain and Snow in Forecast for West Coast as Ridge Eases
As we've discussed for some time now, the western ridge will finally begin to break down this weekend and allow for a much stormier weather pattern to set up across the west. Take a look at the 500mb pattern across the United States today: Compared with early next week: Quite an impressive flip, and one we've been waiting for for some time. What this will equate to is a period of very wet weather across California and the Pacific Northwest. And, unlike some of the more active periods earl
El Niño
No Two El Niños Are Alike; Cooling Waters and Precipitation Trends
Ah El Niño, the winter is closing in on you my so-often misrepresented phenomena. All those media headlines promising that you'll do this, that, and the other, and for what? Yes, that's right, you never promised one thing or another, other than to be a warm area of ocean in the central and southern Pacific and that you will attempt to shift seasonal areas of heavy versus light precipitation. That you have. No two El Niños are alike For the current winter, December and January (February's data
Long-range forecast
Long-Range Forecast Update: Quiet Pattern Sets in; Wet Spring Ahead?
Let the great meltdown begin! After a great snowstorm this past week, many folks are wanting some warmer weather. Well, if you are one of those people that wants warmer weather, this is certainly going to be the weather pattern for you. In fact, it is likely going to be one of those weather patterns that produces some of the nicest weather we've seen in a while. Why do I think this? Let's take a look... GEFS Ensemble Mean 500mb Maps: Tuesday: Thursday: Saturday: Monday: Wednesday: Fri
JAMSTEC
Updated JAMSTEC Model and Beyond El Niño
JAMSTEC Update It has been a while since we have chatted about the JAMSTEC model and its forecast for the next several months. There is a reason for this. During the past several months, it has been forecasting colder than normal temperatures for Eastern Colorado. We've lamented in the past about why we didn't think this would happen (current strong El Niño and positive PDO), but figure the model was worth a look again. Why? Because some of what the model has been spitting out may be spot on...
Long-range forecast
Winter Forecast Update: Analogs and Models
I am not going to spend much time on the main drivers with this update. We have talked about them at length in previous posts , and I think you pretty much know what they are. We've touched on analogs in previous posts too, but not in a lengthy fashion. The main reason for that is that there really isn't a "perfect" analog when it comes to referencing the next several months. Of the analogs chosen, those years with a strong El Niño, a positive PDO, and a positive AMO
El Niño
Current El Niño Remains 2nd Strongest, but Differs From Previous Events
As of September, El Niño remained as the second strongest recorded since 1950. The strongest September El Niño occurred in 1997. In the grand scheme of things, 65 years of data is not all that long, so comparing our current El Niños to previous ones is not necessarily a good idea for the basis of a forecast. However, let's compare the El Niño events simply to show just how different each one of them can be. Here are the winter precipitation m
El Niño
Monsoon Fail and a Look at October
Before we move into October, here is a thought on the late summer: I have to admit that there were a lot of things I thought would happen this year with the warm Pacific and subsequent El Niño, but a failing monsoon wasn't one of them. Historically, an El Niño will enhance the monsoon season for Colorado and certainly doesn't scream drought. However, I attribute the "monsoon fail" to a very weak MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation ) signal and one that simply got stuck in a rut that perpetu
Opinion
Data and Knowledge, the Key to Changing Public 'Opinion'
I was ready to hit publish on one post with the aim of beginning work on another. I quickly realized that perhaps the two were connected, so here is the joint post. The first blog was to add some historical perspective on a recent article published by The Denver Post regarding El Niño. The second was a bit of a reactionary agreement piece to this article in Forbes [http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallsh
Long-range forecast
El Niño Update and CPC Constructed Analog Forecast
It's time for an update on our long-range outlook which now takes us through winter and on into spring. We'll tackle our thoughts around this upcoming snowfall season over a series of posts. Today we'll focus on the Climate Prediction Center's constructed analog forecasts, as we like the overall look of these forecasts as compared to our analog set. This will give us a nice launching point to dig deeper into the details over the coming weeks. First, let's take a brief look at what this El Niño
Opinion
"Today in Stupid El Niño Headlines"
Full credit for this post goes to Matt Lanza (@mattlanza ) as he has put all the blood, sweat, and (mostly) tears into gathering these "Stupid El Niño Headlines". All we've done is gone ahead and put them together, in one unfortunate giant list. What was a (sort of) forgivable poor practice by some has now taken the internet by storm when a NASA scientist called this year's El Niño a 'Godzilla El Niño' [http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/08/13/432099022/s
PDO
A Closer look at What El Niño Means for Rain and Snow in Colorado
There has been a great deal of interest in El Niño recently, following multiple authoritative statements that it is on track to be "a significant event ". This conjures up memories of 1997 , which was a significant year for El Niño . This was the year Chris Farley performed his famous El
Long-range forecast
Subtle Differences to Previous El Niños Key to Winter Forecast, And Why the PDO Matters
There are a lot of comparisons to the El Niño of 1997 taking place right now, and while certainly an analog to this year, there are some differences to keep an eye on before jumping head-first into the repeat boat. Each El Niño is its own animal. When looking at analog years, it's important to remember that what's happening in Niño regions isn't the only factor to weigh. It's important to also consider things like: where the Niño is occurring within the greater long-term cycle; is it in its fir
State of the Atmosphere
The State of the Atmosphere: Sunday, July 12, 2015
July has picked up right where May and June left off, with continued good precipitation for the state. Through the first eleven days of the month, much of the greatest positive precipitation departures from normal have been in and along the Front Range mountains, with the eastern Plains seeing some drying, especially as compared to recent months. Denver International Airport has recorded 0.60" so far this month, which is just 0.03" below normal for the date. The COOP station at City Park has re
Colorado Weather
El Niño Continues to Strengthen; Stage Set for Active Monsoon
Summer Forecast Update For the past several months we've been calling for the pattern to stay wet and generally cooler than normal for the foreseeable future. From our past posts, you know that this is largely attributed to the ongoing and strengthening El Niño , and to a lesser extent the "cooler" / less positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The map below shows the current sea surface temperature anomalies: The red i
Long-range forecast
Forecast Update on Evolving El Niño and what it Means for Colorado and the West
The evolving El Niño that is going on in the Pacific Ocean has been quite impressive to watch. While we’ve been dealing with a couple variations of El Niño since late last summer (California Niño and Modoki Niño) the event has morphed into a more "traditional" El Niño. All of the orange and red on the map below are indicative of sea surface temperature anomalies that are warmer than normal: So not only do we have a very positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation [/blog/2014/05/28/drought-relief-el-
Denver Forecast
The Wet Pattern Shows Signs of Slowing Down
Will the wet weather end? No, but we are going to return to a bit more typical weather pattern after week's of wet weather . As of Sunday the 24th, only 3 days in May have been rain-less at DIA. Only one day had less than a 50% coverage of cloud cover. So, to say it's been a rainy, cloudy month is an understatement by Colorado standards. There looks to be a bit more sun in the forecast for this week, though more rain is possible
Long-range forecast
El Niño Update and Forecast
We all remember what happened last year at this time. There was a lot of talk about a Super El Niño getting ready to occur. That certainly didn't come to pass, and we talked a lot about why we didn't think that would happen here at Weather5280. Here we are again a year later, and the same talk is occurring. I am not ready to completely sign off on a strong event, or even a moderate event occurring. However, I am more intrigued by the set
Long-range forecast
El Niño Status and Forecast
It has been a while since we’ve talked about El Niño, so I figured I would give you an update. Here is what the most recent sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly map looks like: As you can see, a warmer than normal pool of water is located off the west coast of South America in areas referred to as Niño Regions 1+2. Farther west across the Pacific the water is actually a bit cooler than normal until you get to the western Pacific Ocean. In order for the El Niño to develop in a traditional fas
Monsoon
Monsoon Outlook, Continued Weak to Moderate El Niño Development
Given the fact that our spring and early summer, together, have given us some much needed moisture (for most of the state), a lot of folks are wondering if the trend will continue. 'What does the monsoon season look like?' is the number one question I am getting right now. It's a valid question too, and one that is quite important when considering wildfire potential. We've had all of this great moisture and the vegetation has been loving it (minus the hail) and is growing nicely. But if we dry t